LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - Lafayette Police are still mourning the loss of one of their own. Officer William “Bill” Meluch died on Christmas Day after fighting cancer for more than a year.
“If you knew Bill, you liked Bill," said Captain Joseph Clyde with LPD. Adding that he was loved for his unique personality.
"He was very well known across the department because of his character and how he acted," he said.
LPD said his passing is the first time in decades that LPD has lost an active member.
"While this isn't a line of duty death, it's still the loss of an officer, who was still a line of duty officer," said Clyde. A loss Clyde said is felt throughout the entire department.
"He was just so good-natured and good-hearted,” he said.
Meluch served with LPD for nearly 13 years and was a part of the department's honor guard. He was actively involved in the Fraternal Order of Police, the bike patrol unit and the civil disturbance unit.
News 18 found video on our archives of Officer Meluch spending time with local kids, trying to help facilitate positive relationships between LPD and the community.
"We're out here to help the kids have a good time and build a relationship with them and to try to help the kids realize that we're people just like anybody else and we're out to have fun, we're approachable and we're here to help,” said Meluch on July 28th, 2017.
"His outgoing personality and self-deprecating humor will be missed immensely. Bill was passionate to become a police officer and had a strong desire to be a part of making a difference in the lives of those he came in contact with each and each day,” said LPD Chief Patrick Flannely in a statement.
Captain Clyde says many LPD officers plan to attend his funeral service. And that the West Lafayette, Tippecanoe County, and Purdue Police Forces have offered to help cover their duties so they can do so.
"We want to support Bill and his family throughout this entire event,” he said. “He's a part of our department, he's a brother and he always will be."
A visitation service will be held at the Soller-Baker Funeral Home on Sunday, December 30th from 2-5 p.m.
Officer Meluch's funeral mass will be held on Monday, December 31st at St. Lawrence in Lafayette at 10 a.m., followed by his burial at St. Boniface.